Jason Williams

Jason Williams

Jason Williams, portfolio manager/analyst at Lazard Asset Management, will be outlining his views of emerging markets when he joins the upcoming Nordic Summit Stockholm 2019, hosted at the Grand Hotel on 12-13 March.

Still an asset class that requires consideration of risk beyond developed markets, it has nonetheless broadened over the past three decades, with long term returns being relatively strong.

But a sophisticated approach to ESG, strong risk controles and a style neutral approach are the factors that can deliver more consisten returns, Williams will explain.

Williams, who works as a portfolio manager/analyst on Lazard’s Equity Advantage team, began working in investments in 2001. Before joining Lazard in 2008, he was a quantitative portfolio manager in the Pan European Active Equities group at SSgA. He has an MA in Finance and Investment from the University of Exeter and a BSc Honours in Mathematics from Coventry University. He is a CFA charterholder and member of the UK Society of Investment Professionals (UKSIP).

Vlade Divac

How Vlade Divac, Kings came ahead after DeMarcus Cousins trade gamble

Happy DeMarcus Cousins Day!

We have reached the moment in time when the grand experiment is finally realized. Cousins, after sitting out nearly 10 months with a ruptured Achilles tendon, will finally make his debut with the Golden State Warriors.

While the rest of the league prepares to see how he fits with the Champs, it’s as good a time as any to reflect back on the transaction that changed the landscape of basketball in Sacramento.

Cousins, a four-time All-Star and widely considered one of the best big men in the league, was the cornerstone of the Kings franchise from the moment he was selected with fifth overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft.

He was slated to sign a mega-extension with Sacramento in February of 2017, that would pay him more than $200 million over the length of the contract. Whether he’d be sidelined with the injury or not is nothing more than guesswork, but the Kings would be paying him upwards of $35 million this season, not the $5 million the Warriors are on the hook for.

Sacramento was at a crossroads. Things weren’t working with Cousins, but his undeniable talent was too much to give up on. And then Vlade Divac did the unthinkable.

On Feb. 20, 2017, and with the Kings just outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, Divac pulled the plug on the Cousins era, shipping the center to New Orleans for a package that included Buddy Hield and a first and second-round pick.

Cousins was informed of the transaction by Kings director of media relations, Chris Clark, moments before the big prepared to field questions following the All-Star game.

The trade was one of the more stunning moments in Kings history. One day the Kings were fighting for the eighth seed. The next day, it was a complete rebuild.

Divac famously said at the time, “I believe we are going to be in a better position in two years. I want to hear again from these same people in two years. If I’m right, great. If I’m wrong, I’ll step down. But if I go down, I’m going down my way.”

We have almost reached the two-year mark and this is as good as any time to assess the work Divac has done since making the difficult decision to deal away Cousins.

While the 28-year-old center is ready to resume action with the Warriors, things have not gone as planned for the star big. After a year and a half with the Pelicans, he is looking to reboot his career with Golden State and rebuild his value before entering free agency this summer.

Due to the injury, it’s unlikely Cousins will ever make up for the money that he missed out on by not signing an extension with Sacramento.

He wasn’t able to put the Pelicans over top in his time with the club, but they were playing extremely well when he went down. New Orleans received nothing in exchange for Cousins when he left in the summer of 2018 to sign with the Warriors.

The Kings were 24-33 when they traded Cousins during the All-Star break. They were just outside of the playoff hunt at the time of the transaction but fell apart down the stretch. Sacramento struggled to an 8-27 record over the final 35 games of the 2016-17 season, finishing with the league’s eighth-worst record.

Buddy Hield played well for Sacramento after coming over in the deal. He finished out his rookie season averaging 15.1 points per game in 25 games wearing a Kings uniform. In his third season, the 26-year-old has become one of the best shooters in the league and he’s averaging over 20 points per game as the Kings’ starting shooting guard.

New Orleans struggled down the stretch after acquiring Cousins, which worked out perfectly for the Kings. They took the 10th overall selection from the Pelicans and traded it to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 15th and 20th picks in the 2017 NBA Draft.

With the 15th pick, the Kings selected Justin Jackson out of North Carolina. He has become a valuable part of the team’s rotation as a reserve wing and he is showing major improvements in his second season.

Divac selected Harry Giles with the 20th pick, and then redshirted the talented, but injured big man in year one. Giles has worked himself into the rotation and has high-end potential in the post.

Sacramento also received the 34th pick in the 2017 Draft as part of the trade. They used the selection to take Frank Mason, who has been in and out of the rotation in his first two seasons with the team.

In addition to acquiring Hield, Jackson, Giles, and Mason, there was an expected secondary result from dealing Cousins. In fact, it was one of the motivations behind the trade.

Sacramento owed a top 10 protected pick to the Chicago Bulls as part of the 2011 trade that sent Omri Casspi to the Cleveland Cavaliers for J.J. Hickson.

The transaction hung over the Kings’ head for years, but 2017 was the final summer that the Bulls could receive the pick. If it wasn’t relayed during that season, it converted to a second-round selection.

By falling apart down the stretch, the Kings retained the pick. On draft lottery night, Sacramento moved from the eighth spot in the lottery to the third pick, before dropping back to fifth as part of a pick swap with Philadelphia.

With the fifth overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, Divac selected De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky. In his second NBA season, he is the centerpiece of the Kings’ franchise.

Divac gambled and the early results are shocking. He basically turned Cousins into Hield, Jackson, Giles, Mason, and Fox. He went young last season and that resulted in another lottery selection, which became Marvin Bagley.

In Cousins’ six-plus seasons with the Kings, the team never made it to Jan. 1 with a .500 record. The team currently sits at 23-22 on the season and they are in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Sacramento did their best to build a team around Cousins. Every summer they focused on bringing in the right fit to match with their star. It never worked out.

The rebuild hasn’t been easy. The Kings have made some mistakes and there were plenty of ups and downs, but Divac has reinvented the team as a young and exciting club with plenty of talent.

He and his staff have also used the cautious approach to the cap and have the financial freedom they wouldn’t have had with Cousins in tow. They are walking into the trade deadline with $11 million in cap space and $37 million in expiring contracts.

If Divac and his group take a cautious approach to the deadline, they can walk into the summer with most of their rotation under contract and upwards of $60 million in cap space.

Trading DeMarcus Cousins was about as bold as it gets in the NBA world. Divac put himself on notice with the move and he’s found a way to come out ahead.

Peja Stojakovic

Peja Stojakovic

1. He was the first European player to finish in the Top 4 in the MVP vote.

2. He’s one of only three players to win the NBA title, World Championship and Eurobasket. The others are Pau Gasol and Toni Kukoc.

3. His dad fought against the Croatian Army at the start of the Yugoslav wars in the early 90’s.

4. He acquired Greek citizenship in 1994. His Greek name is Prentragk Kinis Stogiakovits.

5. He led the Euroleague in scoring at age 20.

6. The only Euro players to average more points than him in the NBA are Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis.

7. Only Kevin Garnett scored more points than him in 2003-04.

8. He led the NBA in Offensive Win Shares that season.

9. He requested a trade from Sacramento in 2004. He would eventually be moved for Ron Artest in 2006.

10. He was the first player in NBA history to start a game off by scoring 20 consecutive points It happened against the Bobcats in 2006.

11. He shot only 41.8 percent from the field in the playoffs.

12. He bought a home in Miami for $3.7 million in 2012 and listed it for sale at $8.9 million in 2015.

13. He was drafted between Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

14. Wrestler Kevin Nash had a dog named after him for some reason.

15. He played two games with the Toronto Raptors.

16. He won the NBA title in his final game as a player.

Oscar Robertson

In addition to both being members of the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame and the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Oscar Robertson and Dave Bing also share the same birthday: November 24.

With the two legends reaching milestone birthdays on Saturday – Robertson turns 80 and Bing turns 75 – we take a closer look at their accomplishments both on and off the court.

Oscar Robertson: Stats and Facts

Oscar Robertson was the first selection in the 1960 NBA Draft as a territorial pick by the Cincinnati Royals.

Robertson averaged 30.5 points per game during his rookie season, the third highest average of any rookie in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain (37.6 in 1959-60) and Walt Bellamy (31.6 in 1961-62).

Not only did Robertson win Rookie of the Year honors in 1961, he was also named an All-Star and won All-Star MVP honors during his first NBA season.

Robertson was named an All-Star in each of his first 12 seasons in the NBA (1961-1972) and would win three MVP honors (1961, 1964 and 1969).

During the 1961-62 season, Robertson became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season as he finished with averages of 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists.

He was the first player in league history to average double-digit assists and the first guard to average double-digit rebounds for an entire season. Robertson led the league in assists six times in his career (1961-62, 1964-66, 1969).

Robertson racked up a record 41 triple-doubles during the 1961-62 season, a mark that stood for 55 years before being broken by Russell Westbrook in 2016-17. Robertson still holds the record for most career triple-doubles with 181.

Robertson not only averaged a triple-double over the course of a full single-season, his averages over the first five seasons of his career were also a triple-double: 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists.

Robertson was named NBA Most Valuable Player in 1964, the only player other than Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain to win the award from 1960 to 1968.

Robertson spent the first 10 seasons of his NBA career with the Cincinnati Royals (1961-1970) before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the 1970-71 season. In Milwaukee, he teamed up with Lew Alcindor to win the 1971 NBA championship, the only title of Robertson’s career.

Robertson’s No. 14 is retired by the Sacramento Kings. The Cincinnati Royals relocated to Kansas City in 1975 and were renamed the Kansas City-Omaha Kings (as the team split home games between Kansas City and Omaha until 1975). In 1985, the Kansas City Kings moved to Sacramento, where the franchise remains today. Robertson’s No. 1 is retired by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Robertson finished his career with 26,7210 points (25.7 per game), 7,804 rebounds (7.5 per game), and 9,887 assists (9.5 per game). At the time of his retirement, he was the NBA’s all-time leader in career assists and free throws made, and was the second all-time leading scorer behind Wilt Chamberlain. Today, he ranks 12th all-time in scoring, 6th in assists and 4th in free throws made.

Robertson is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee; he was inducted as an individual player in 1980 and as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in 2010. He was also named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

In addition to his on-court accolades, Robertson is also remembered for his off-the-court contributions to the NBA. The landmark case of Robertson v. National Basketball Association – an antitrust suit filed by the NBA Players Association (with Robertson serving as its president) against the league – was settled in 1976 and gave the players the rights to become free agents.

Dave Bing: Stats and Facts

Dave Bing entered the NBA as the No. 2 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 1966 NBA Draft after playing his collegiate basketball as Syracuse University.

Bing was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1967 after averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists while playing 34.5 minutes per game for the 30-51 Pistons.

Bing followed up his impressive rookie campaign by winning the NBA scoring title, being named an All-Star and earning All-NBA First Team honors in his second season. Bing averaged a career-best 27.1 points per game (2,142 total points as totals were used to determine the scoring champ at the time) as well as 4.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists to help the Pistons improve to 40-42 and earn a playoff berth.

Bing would earn seven All-Star selections in his 12-year NBA career. In his final All-Star appearance (and first as a member of the Washington Bullets) Bing was named All-Star Game MVP after finishing with 16 points and 4 assists in the East’s 123-109 win over the West.

Bing played for three teams during his 12-year career. After spending his first nine seasons with the Detroit Pistons (1966-75), Bing played with the Washington Bullets for two seasons (1975-77) before playing his final season with the Boston Celtics (1977-78 season). His No. 21 jersey is retired by the Detroit Pistons.

Bing finished his NBA career with 18,327 points (20.3 per game), 3,420 rebounds (3.8 per game) and 5,397 assists (6.0 per game). He currently ranks 69th all-time in scoring and 51st in assists.

In addition to his seven All-Star selections and three All-NBA team selections (two First Team, one Second Team), Bing was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990 and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

Following his playing career, Bing returned to Detroit and launched Bing Steel in 1980. A decade later, the firm had grown to annual sales of $61 million, making it the 10th-largest African-American-owned industrial company in the nation, according to Black Enterprise magazine’s rankings.

In 1989, the city of Detroit announced plans to cancel all sports programs in public high schools as part of a budgetary-crisis cutback. Bing launched a campaign that raised $373,000 to save the programs. As it turned out, Detroit voters approved tax increases, but Bing still had the money turned over to the schools, no strings attached.

At the 1990 NBA All-Star Game, Bing was recognized for his work after his NBA career.

On October 16, 2008, Bing announced that he would run for mayor of Detroit, to complete the term left vacant when former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigned. On May 5, 2009, Bing defeated interim Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr. to become the 62nd mayor of Detroit. He was re-elected to a full term in November 2009, but did not seek re-election in 2013.

Robertson-Bing Connections

The two Hall of Fame players share the same birthdate – November 24 – with Robertson (celebrating his 80th birthday) five years older than Bing (75).

Robertson and Bing were All-Star teammates three times during their playing careers. In 1968, both were starters for the East with Robertson finishing with 18 points, 5 assists and 1 rebound and Bing adding 9 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds as the East beat the West 144-124.

The two teamed up a year later (Robertson as a starter and Bing as a reserve) as Robertson won his third All-Star MVP award after finishing with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the East win. They teamed for a final time in 1971 (Bing as a starter, Robertson as a reserve), this time for the West after expansion and realignment moved the Bucks and Pistons to the West. Different conference, same result for Robertson and Bing as the West won 108-107.

Through the 1968-69 season, the NBA scoring title was determined by total points rather than scoring average like we know it today. Bing won the 1967-68 scoring title as he finished with 2,142 total points, while Robertson finished sixth with 1,896 points. However, Robertson finished with the league’s top scoring average at 29.2 points per game that season, while Bing finished second at 27.1. Robertson was limited to 65 games due to injury, while Bing played 79 games to bypass Robertson in total points and collect the scoring title.

Mike Bibby

Former NBA player Mike Bibby has been hanging with the Memphis Grizzlies. Will he soon be employed by the team again?

It has been 17 years since the Grizzlies relocated their franchise from Vancouver to Memphis. It has been the same amount of time since Mike Bibby — one of the very original members of the Grizzlies — was a part of the franchise. When the Grizzlies departed Vancouver, Bibby left the Grizz (or vice-versa).

If the 2018 NBA Summer League has been any indication, it could soon be a reunion of sorts for the Grizzlies and Bibby. The former floor general has been retired from the NBA since the 2011-12 season. However, it is hard to take a longtime veteran entirely away from the game.

Mike Bibby has been spotted at all four of the Memphis Grizzlies’ summer league games thus far in July. There are a few roles of which Bibby could play for the Grizz — obviously not as a player, but as a mentor for the young guys. Not only was Mike Bibby a fundamentally sound point guard during his playing days, but he was a gamer. He was made for the moment. He had some grit behind his grind, too.

Basketball runs through the veins of the Bibby family. Mike’s father, Henry Bibby, served as an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2009 through 2013. Plus, Mike played in the NBA for 14 seasons, including a three-year stint with the Vancouver Grizzlies.

There is something brewing between the Grizzlies and Mike Bibby. Could Mike follow in the footsteps of his dad? It looks as if that is the case. If not as an assistant underneath J.B. Bickerstaff, then probably in an advising role similar to that of Tayshaun Prince. After all, Prince has recently talked to the Detroit Pistons about his own reunion of sorts. Plus, a head coaching position became available today with the Memphis Hustle. There are a handful of possibilities for Mike Bibby right now. Any day, there should be an official announcement as to what his exact role will be. It is clear that he will be a member of the Grizzlies once again, but it will be his first time calling Memphis his home.

Looking back at a recent Beale Street Bears piece, notice that Memphis’ large new group of coaches has something in common. Much of the staff has at least 10 years of NBA playing experience. This is rare and phenomenal for the current Grizzlies squad. The team is not littered with video coodinators (though, Brad Stevens is solid, no doubt). The new coaching staff has guys that have put in many seasons of professional basketball experience. They know what it really takes to form team chemistry and to coexist with one another. Some of them were able to succeed on the highest stage of the top level of basketball.

In all honesty, player development within the Memphis Grizzlies organization went from zero to 100 with the blink of an eye. Developing the young guys has never been a thought of the Front Office’s during the “Grit-‘N’-Grind” era. Now, there are guys such as Nick Van Exel and Jerry Stackhouse sharing their wisdom with the Grizzlies of the future. With a staff this strong — and perhaps going to gain more strength — the team’s future is in excellent hands.

Go Grizz!

Mitch Richmond

Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway were in Oakland on March 19, 2012, for Mullin's jersey retirement. The three played for the Golden State Warriors for three seasons and were known as "Run TMC" before Richmond was traded to the Kings in 1991.

Before becoming one of the most beloved players in Sacramento, Mitch Richmond was part of an exciting NBA trio.

Richmond, Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway were known as “Run TMC” when they played together for the Golden State Warriors from 1988-91.

The three athletes were honored by fans Sunday in Oakland during Game 3 of the Western Conference finals as the Warriors hosted the Houston Rockets.

On Monday, Richmond will help Hardaway receive an even bigger ovation. He’s introducing his former Warriors teammate who will be inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. Richmond and Mullin are already enshrined.

Also being inducted are John McVay, who served in the front office for the 49ers during all of their Super Bowl victories, former 49ers offensive lineman Harris Barton, retired Giants pitcher Matt Cain and former soccer star Brandi Chastain.

Richmond made six All-Star teams with the Kings, but he still wonders what could have been if the trio stayed together.

“I don’t think there is a week that goes by I don’t think about that because I was the one shipped out,” Richmond told The Mercury News. “It was hard because I thought I was going to be here forever.”

He was traded to Sacramento during the 1991 offseason for Billy Owens, the Kings’ No. 3 overall pick in that year’s draft. Richmond averaged 23.3 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 45.3 percent in seven seasons with the Kings before being dealt to the Washington Wizards for Chris Webber.

The Kings retired Richmond’s No. 2 jersey in 2003 and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Zach Randolph

Police are investigating a fatal shooting outside a bar on South McClure Street, south of downtown Marion.

Zach RandolphThey say the victim is Roger Randolph, the brother of Marion and NBA basketball star Zach Randolph.

“This is a small town,” said Andrew Morrell, who is a longtime family friend of the Randolph’s. “People know right now what happened. It’s circulating who did it, who was there, who saw it. At the end of the day, it’s about what’s right. It’s about standing up for justice, standing up for what you know to be good and right and true and fair for everybody. Whenever we see injustice take place of any kind and we don’t say anything about it, we’re complicit and we actually become part of it.”

The shooting happened at Hop’s Blues Room shortly before 5:00 a.m., according to Sgt. Mark Stefanatos of Marion PD. Authorities say Zach Randolph was not there at the time.

Investigators have not released any information on what led to the shooting, but they said they believe this was not a random act and that the general public is not in danger.

An officer nearby heard the shots fired and arrived to find Randolph lying between two cars in the parking lot. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Crowds of people gathered nearby as investigators collected evidence.

“We have a lot of people down here that know them [the Randolph brothers] that have gathered and want some answers,” said Stefanatos. “We are working on trying to provide them.”

Police say they found two different bullet types at the scene, and that several cars were hit with gunfire.

“Right now, there’s no closure because of what’s happened,” said Morrell. “There are kids who don’t have a father anymore. There are siblings who don’t have a brother anymore. There are friends who don’t have a friend anymore. This hurts everybody. This community is hurting.”

Zach Randolph (L) with siblings Kelly, Tomika and Roger (R)

Zach Randolph was a two time NBA all-star following a standout career at Marion High School. He led the Giants to an Indiana state championship in 2000.

Buddy Hield

During this offseason, Buddy Hield has shown he is on a mission to making a splash next season with the Sacramento Kings.

It has been over a month since the Sacramento Kings have been in offseason mode. During that time, it has been a whirlwind within the franchise as the Kings now hold the second overall pick in the upcoming draft and have been scouting and working out top prospects at their facility.

Although the draft festivities have highlighted the Kings’ summer so far, it is important to recognize that the current players repping the purple and white have been busy as well.

Many players like De’Aaron Fox, Harry Giles, Frank Mason III, and more have been productive this offseason as they have been working out in the hopes that they will have a better campaign in the 2018-2019 NBA season.

Another guy that has been training is Buddy Hield. For the last couple of weeks, Hield has been grinding in the gym where he is mostly trying to improve his shooting and ball-handling skills.

Fortunately, Trey Slate, someone who has been training Buddy, has been posting videos of the Buddy working out so the public can see the progress the Kings’ guard has been making. Check out the videos by scrolling down.

Final Thoughts

Hield finished his second NBA season on a high note as he improved in almost every aspect of his game compared to his rookie year.

Even though Buddy was one of the best players on the Kings last season, in my mind, he is still driven to get better and is on a mission to make himself and his team succeed in the near future. If he is able to become a better dribbling next season, expect another leap of improvement from Buddy Buckets.

DeMarcus Cousins

Should the Miami Heat be looking into big man DeMarcus Cousins?

The Miami Heat have seemingly been in purgatory since 2014, getting as far as the second round of the playoffs. They’ve also been a one and done team and missed the playoffs altogether. The reasoning can be simplified into four words: lack of star power.

For all the praise he gets, president Pat Riley has had a hard time drawing stars to Miami since 2014.

He’s missed out on guys like LeBron James, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kevin Durant. But with the Warriors adding Durant and racking up their third championship in four years, the landscape is destined to change soon. Riley has a chance to reclaim his good name this summer.

And one man can help lead the charge back to prominence: DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins has the name. He’s a four time All-Star, three of the times playing with the lowly Sacramento Kings. He’s also a two-time All-NBA performer.

Cousins has the game.

He has career-averages of 21.5 points and 11.0 rebounds. Over the last five seasons, he has averages of 25 points and 12 rebounds. He fits the mold of the modern day big man perfectly, meaning he can dominate from the inside and on the boards or he can stretch the floor and knock down 3’s, as his 36 percent from distance can attest to. He’s not the most dominate defender, but when engaged, he’s more than good enough.

He has the attitude.

Seen as a hot-head for most of his career, those around him in New Orleans think he’s one of the best teammates and people they’ve been around. So much so, that Anthony Davis even went as far as to wear Cousins’ jersey during the All-Star game. He’s a fiery player that puts one in the mind of Draymond Green, where you’d hate to play against him but love to have him on your team.

The elephant in the room, however, is his achilles injury.

Cousins has the stature to expect a max contract on the market this summer, but history doesn’t always favor those coming back from this injury. Especially as a big man, it’s a particularly concerning injury going forward. If he can prove to the Heat (or any other teams) that the injury is a thing of the past, a max deal is almost guaranteed.

Is that too rich for the Heat’s blood? Currently, yes. But we’ve seen crazier things happen.

While I understand the slight pessimism around Cousins due to the nature of his injury, he’s the type of player that the Miami Heat could use if they have any aspirations for getting back to the top.

July 1 is coming.

Chris Webber

Twenty-five years later, it’s almost impossible to imagine a career like Chris Webber’s beginning the way Chris Webber’s career began.

The No. 1 overall pick in 1993, traded on draft night. The 1994 Rookie of the Year, traded just weeks into his second NBA season. A transcendent talent just one year into a 15-year contract, already looking for a new start in his career. For Webber, that fresh start came in Washington, and those who remember his four-year run in D.C. are still wondering, What if?

Chris Webber

To set the stage: After that single ROY season with Golden State, Webber decided he’d had enough of playing out of position and a difficult relationship with Warriors coach Don Nelson. So he sat out the start of the ’94-95 campaign, forcing Golden State’s hand. The Warriors sent him to Washington, and for the first time in ages, the Bullets—no, they weren’t the Wizards yet, not for a few more years—were a franchise with reason to hope.

Chris Webber

That hope wore No. 2—which was later changed to No. 4—below that iconic reach-for-the-sky Bullets logo on a clean sea of red. And while it took him some time to get rolling, by the end of his first season in D.C., Webber had reminded everyone why he was one of the League’s most promising young players. Strong, rangy, versatile and deceptively athletic for a player his size, Webber still looked every bit the generational talent—the guy who could redefine the role of an NBA power forward. Reunited with his old Fab Five teammate Juwan Howard, Webber averaged 20.1 points and 9.6 rebounds on a team that struggled to just 21 wins.

Webber missed most of the ’95-96 season with injuries, giving his third year in Washington the feel of yet another new beginning. He made the most of it, averaging just over 20 points and 10 boards in ’96-97, the first of six seasons in which he’d average at least 20 and 10. His best season as a Bullet was also the team’s best season in Webber’s D.C. stint, as they improved to 44 wins and earned a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Their first-round opponent? The No. 1-seeded Chicago Bulls.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a fair fight, and Webber would have to wait for a return to the Western Conference—where he’d have his greatest personal and team success in Sacramento—to experience playoff glory. In the meantime, there was one last season in Washington, in which Webber’s 22 points and 9 boards weren’t quite enough to lift the team to a playoff spot. Unable to take the next step as a franchise, and with Webber dealing with minor off-court issues, Washington ultimately sent him to the Kings in the summer of ’98.

His legacy in the Nation’s Capital? Four-season averages of 20.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and flashes of the Hall of Fame-caliber talent that hadn’t quite yet reached the level of true greatness. But those flashes looked cool as hell.